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Outstanding Students

Meet Our Outstanding 2013 Graduates

Every Spring semester, the Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee and faculty nominate outstanding students for two awards-The Outstanding Graduating Senior of Ethnic Studies and The Ethnic Studies Graduating Senior of Distinction. The winner of the first award is Halima Lucas. Because of the excellence of so many of our students, we have two winners of the second award: Ashveen Dhillon and Ana Laura Gonzalez-Coria. 

Halima Lucas, The Outstanding Graduating Senior of Ethnic Studies
has completed a major in Communication and double minors in Ethnic Studies and Film Studies. She is an excellent scholar, a talented film maker, and a remarkable student leader. As Co-President of the Ethnic Studies Club, she effectively collaborated with students of various backgrounds in sharing their experience and building support networks for both students and the local communities. Her list of accomplishments includes the competitive Hansen Writing Contest and Scholarship Award (2011), a Pacific Summer Research and Creative Project Fellowship (2012), The Woman of Distinction (2013), and the Outstanding Research Project on Diversity for her documentary, Building Bridges, which explores the generation gap between English speaking Cambodian American children and their Khmer speaking parents, presented at Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference. In Spring 2013. She has been accepted into the MFA Program of the School of Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California. Congratulations!

Ashveen Dhillon, Ethnic Studies Graduating Senior of Distinction,
has completed an English Major and double minors in Ethnic Studies and Pre Law.  She was a Writing Mentor at Pacific's Writing Center, and actively involved in community service through volunteer work in both Stockton and Modesto. In Spring 2013, she presented her research paper entitled "Economy, Law, and the Threat of Intelligence in Moby-Dick and Benito Cereno" at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Based on her outstanding academic achievements, she was inducted into the oldest and most prestigious liberal arts honor society, Phi Beta Kappa in Spring 2013. In Fall 2013, she will begin her study at William Boyd Law School of U of Nevada in Las Vegas, which offers her a scholarship that covers half of her tuition. Congratulations! 

Ana Laura Gonzalez-Coria, Ethnic Studies Graduating Senior of Distinction has completed double majors in English and Communication, and a minor in Ethnic Studies. She served as a Pacific Ambassador, an Ethnic Studies Representative for Profile Days, and a tutor at the Center for Community Involvement. She has been accepted into the very competitive programs-Teach For America; and New York City Teaching Fellows. She chose the fellowship, which will enable her to complete a Masters degree in Ed. and help pay off her student loans while teaching at a school in NYC.  Congratulations!

Meet Our Outstanding 2013 Graduates

Outstanding Seniors:
Brandie Spencer and Leora White
Senior of Distinction: Sarah Cassese

Brandie Spencer with Jesse Marks, a former long-time Student Life staff member who initiated the Jesse Marks Co-curricular Award.
Brandie Spencer with Jesse Marks, a former long-time Student Life staff member who initiated the Jesse Marks Co-curricular Award.

Sociology majors Brandie, Leora and Sarah are effective leaders, community builders and outstanding scholars. Their excellence and accomplishments have made ripples of positive impact on their peers in the classroom, on campus climate, and on Pacific's relationship with the local communities. They exemplify what diversity and inclusive excellence means at Pacific.

Brandie Spencer has worked tirelessly in his multiple leadership roles on campus and in the local communities while striving for academic excellence. He is the winner of the 2011 Pacific Jesse Marks Co-Curricular Award for Student Leadership, and the City of Stockton Martin Luther King Jr. Outstanding Youth Adult Award for Community Service. He was the founder of Empowering Young Voices, Incorporation, and workshop organizer of NAACP in Stockton. He has been on the Dean's Honor Roll and been President of Pacific's Knolens Chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. In addition, he was selected as Commencement Speaker for both the University and the College of the Pacific. He plans to pursue graduate studies in Educational Administration and hopes to bring about positive change for a more equitable society.

Leora White
Leora White with Dr. Carrie Schroeder

Leora White and Sarah Cassese are truly a dynamic duo. They have both been on the Dean's Honor Roll and are members of Phi Kappa Phi; Leora was also inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Leora and Sarah have been Co-Presidents of the Pacific Sociological Society, which had only three members when they joined it during their junior year. As a result of their dynamic leadership, the society now has 30 members.

Sarah Cassese

Working closely with the Ethnic Studies and Gender Studies Programs, the Multicultural Center, Pride Center, and Women's Center, they organized two campus-wide guest speaker events, which generated provocative discussions regarding social justice and equity. They both have been accepted into CSU Stanislaus' Master's Program of Social Work.

Students Attend NCORE 2011

Thanks to funding from the College of the Pacific Deans Office and the Ethnic Studies Program, students Tara Ignont and Kerry Robinson were able to attend the National Conference of Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in San Francisco for the second year in a row. NCORE is "the leading and most comprehensive national forum on issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education." The conference includes approximately 200 different educational opportunities offered through workshops, feature presentations, networking sessions and keynotes.

Since attending NCORE 2010:

  • Tara and Kerry co-presented a poster session at Pacific's Gender, Race and Space Conference.
  • Tara participated as a student panelist at the 2010 University Diversity Retreat.
  • Kerry was appointed as the student representative to the President's Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Tara and Kerry assisted in planning the Campus Conversation on Advancing Diversity and Inclusion (April 2011), a campus-wide forum for promoting issues of social justice.

Meet Our Outstanding 2010 Graduate

Mukhaye NangalamaMukhaye Nangalama earned a B.S. in Business Administration with minors in Pre-Law and Ethnic Studies. Mukhaye exemplified excellence by integrating multiple disciplinary studies and active citizenship. She played a leadership role in various student organizations, including the Black Students Union, the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and the Ethic Studies Club.

At graduation, Mukhaye had been accepted by Southern University Law School and was waiting for news from several other law schools. Pursuing a career in law is particularly meaningful to her, as she is the daughter of political refugees who fled Idi Amin's dictatorship in Uganda.